Shows like Pose and Orange is the New Black brought the stories of the Black LGBTQ+ community to the forefront but there is still a void in that specific genre. Screenwriter Amira Shaunice is here to fill it with engaging, relatable stories told by Black, gay women.
Since 2012, the Detroit-bred producer and director has been giving Black queer women the spotlight on her YouTube channel, New York Girls TV. The different series on her channel, which boasts over 126,000 subscribers, don’t solely focus on the harsh reality that the community faces. Instead, she creates content that shows that being gay doesn’t mean all of the experiences they go through are totally foreign because of their sexuality. With each episode or movie Shaunice creates, we see an experience much like our own or our loved ones delivered by an impressively-built entirely gay and queer cast of characters.
She recently premiered a comedy/drama series that explores the phases of a breakup titled Phase 6. On the show, we watch Jessica Williams, played Peighton Bryant, go through the six phases of a break-up, which are titled “Black Hole,” “Friend-tervention,” “Bored AF,” “New Groove” and “Lingering, and Moving On, Really This Time.”
Phase 6 is a spin-off of her movie New York Girls and shows what life is like after Williams and her now ex-girlfriend Maya break up after Williams leaves her former fiancée at the alter on their wedding day and starts a new life with Maya.
“I felt it was important to tell the story of her life after that relationship and during the midst of [the break-up] because I thought it would be relatable story for anybody going through a breakup and trying to find themselves,” Shaunice said.
Besides Williams’ character, fans also get introduced to characters Tammy (Supreme Bae), Williams’ roommate, who is secretly in love with Williams. Tammy’s loyalty is tested when Williams moves on and finds new love interest Frankie (Jaiiy D. Moses), who unbeknownst to Williams is Tammy’s co-worker. Along with going through the depression caused by her break-up, Williams is also faced with dealing with her difficult relationship with her homophobic mother, Victoria (Bobbi Owens), something many LGBTQ+ folks are all too familiar with. She wants a relationship with Williams, but has trouble accepting her daughter’s sexuality.
“It’s so hurtful and Jessica is her only child,” Shaunice said. “She doesn’t think she’s homophobic but we will see that she is unhappy in general in her own life. She just wanted this fairytale for her daughter and it developed into homophobia when she realized Jessica wasn’t going to turn out the way she thought.”
The show has overlapping storylines that will surely have viewers captivated and wanting more. Phase 6 includes narratives like that of the serial monogamist who is trying to navigate the discomfort of being single, a woman who is in love with her best friend but keeping quiet to preserve the relationship and a mother and daughter experiencing parental discord due to bumping heads over lifestyle choices. Each character is relatable and gives a meaningful and much-needed voice to each tale.
The episode of Phase 6 premieres on June 8, 2021 at 8 p.m on the New York Girls TV YouTube channel.